Broad-based U.S. push to tighten Internet monitoring
A new initiative aims to better coordinate investigation of cyberattacks on government systems. Efforts to intensify monitoring of the Internet and to broaden wiretapping powers are heating up the privacy debate.
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Those efforts may violate, however, an earlier law governing wiretapping, The Washington Post reports.Skip to next paragraph
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"At the heart of the controversy is whether the government's wireless surveillance program violated provisions of the original FISA [Foreign Intelligence Security Act] law that requires warrants for wiretaps whenever one of the parties involved in the communication resides in the United States....
The original FISA law requires the government to get permission from a special court to listen in on the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States. Changes in communications technology mean many purely foreign to foreign communications now pass through the United States and therefore require the government to get court orders to intercept them."
Both the wiretapping and Internet proposals have met stiff public resistance from privacy advocates and Democratic senators, and the debate is likely to balloon, reports The Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" blog.
"Congressional aides tell The Journal that they, too, are also anticipating a fight over civil liberties that will rival the battles over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."
Bruce Schneier writes in Wired Magazine's "Security Matters" blog.
"Security and privacy are not opposite ends of a seesaw; you don't have to accept less of one to get more of the other. Think of a door lock, a burglar alarm and a tall fence. Think of guns, anti-counterfeiting measures on currency and that dumb liquid ban at airports. Security affects privacy only when it's based on identity, and there are limitations to that sort of approach."
Mr. Schneier's blog links to a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports, an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information, indicating that Americans think security is more important than privacy.
"Fifty-one percent (51%) of Americans say that Security is more important than privacy. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 29% disagree and say privacy is more important. Twenty percent (20%) are not sure."